Imperial Amazon Amazona imperialis


Taxonomic source(s)
del Hoyo, J., Collar, N.J., Christie, D.A., Elliott, A. and Fishpool, L.D.C. 2014. HBW and BirdLife International Illustrated Checklist of the Birds of the World. Volume 1: Non-passerines. Lynx Edicions BirdLife International, Barcelona, Spain and Cambridge, UK.

IUCN Red List criteria met and history
Red List criteria met
Critically Endangered Endangered Vulnerable
A4acd; C1+2a(i,ii); D A4acd; B1ab(ii,iii,v)+2ab(ii,iii,v); C1+2a(i,ii); D A2acd+4acd; B1ab(ii,iii,v)+2ab(ii,iii,v); C1+2a(i,ii); D1+2

Red List history
Year Category Criteria
2021 Critically Endangered A4acd; C1+2a(i,ii); D
2019 Critically Endangered C2a(i,ii); D
2016 Endangered D
2013 Endangered D
2012 Endangered D
2008 Endangered D1
2004 Endangered
2000 Endangered
1996 Vulnerable
1994 Vulnerable
1988 Threatened
Species attributes

Migratory status not a migrant Forest dependency high
Land-mass type Average mass -

Estimate Data quality
Extent of Occurrence breeding/resident (km2) 240 medium
Area of Occupancy breeding/resident (km2) 240
Number of locations 1 -
Severely fragmented? no -
Population and trend
Value Data quality Derivation Year of estimate
Number of mature individuals 40-60 medium estimated 2020
Population trend decreasing medium estimated 2003-2029
Decline % (10 years/3 generations past and future) 82-92 - - -
Number of subpopulations 1 - - -
Percentage in largest subpopulation 100 - - -
Generation length (years) 8.7 - - -

Population justification: Prior to 2017, when hurricane Maria hit Dominica, the population was estimated to number 250-350 individuals in total, roughly equivalent to 160-240 mature individuals (P. R. Reillo in litt. 2012). Since Maria, the population has not been quantified due to the inaccessibility of the core parts of the range in the interior of the island (C. Palmer in litt. 2019; Reillo 2019). However, inferences can be drawn based on the effects of previous hurricanes and on recent sightings of the species. Maria is considered to be the strongest and possibly most destructive hurricane to strike the island in Dominica's recorded history. Previously, the most severe storm was hurricane David in 1979, after which the population of Imperial Amazon plummeted to 40-60 individuals (Evans 1991). Tentatively assuming that the impact of Maria on the population was at least as severe as David, the population size again may have decreased significantly. Preliminary field data are encouraging with direct sightings of 11 individuals about half a year after hurricane Maria (Palmer et al. 2018) and over 20 since June 2019, distributed broadly across the pre-hurricane range (A. Fairbairn per C. Palmer in litt. 2019; P. R. Reillo and S. Durand in litt. 2019). To account for the uncertainty surrounding the current population size, and until more recent estimates become available the species is here conservatively assumed to number around 50 mature individuals, and placed in the band 40-60 mature individuals.

Trend justification: Historically, the species was common across its small, but relatively inaccessible range in the central highlands of Dominica. Around 1880, the species started to decline rapidly as a consequence of the conversion of habitat for agriculture as well as hunting for food and, at a low level, collection for the cage-bird trade (Collar et al. 2019). Following hurricane David in 1979, the population decreased to only 25-40 mature individuals (Evans 1991). After that, the population slowly recovered as a consequence of conservation action focusing on the protection of habitat and on environmental education. By 1993, the population numbered 50-70 mature individuals, and increased further to 100 mature individuals in 2000. By 2012, the population was estimated at 160-240 mature individuals. However, since the devastating hurricane Maria struck Dominica in September 2017, the population crashed again. As the species matures slowly and typically fledges a single offspring every other year, recovery from the effects of hurricane Maria may be protracted (C. Palmer in litt. 2019; Reillo 2019). The exact impacts of Maria on the habitat availability and the population size of Imperial Amazon are not yet known. However, it is estimated that Maria was the most severe storm to hit Dominica in recorded history, felling 30% of the trees on the island and stripping the remaining 70% of their leaves and fruits (Forestry and Agriculture Department per Palmer et al. 2018). This estimate is supported by Global Forest Watch, which indicates a loss of 24,000 ha of forest, equating to 34%, between 2000 and 2017 (Global Forest Watch 2018). Overall, while Imperial Amazon seems to have the potential to recover after a sharp population decline, as it proved in the aftermath of Hurricane David in 1979, climate change and the subsequent higher frequency of severe storms are of immediate concern. If Dominica were to be struck by other hurricanes in the near future, before the species could recover sufficiently, the risk of extinction could increase drastically (Collar et al. 2019).

Country/territory distribution
Country/Territory Presence Origin Resident Breeding Non-breeding Passage
Dominica extant native yes

Important Bird and Biodiversity Areas (IBA)
Country/Territory IBA Name
Dominica Morne Diablotin National Park
Dominica Morne Trois Pitons National Park

Habitats & altitude
Habitat (level 1) Habitat (level 2) Importance Occurrence
Forest Subtropical/Tropical Moist Lowland suitable resident
Forest Subtropical/Tropical Moist Montane major resident
Altitude 600 - 1300 m Occasional altitudinal limits (min) 150 m

Threats & impact
Threat (level 1) Threat (level 2) Impact and Stresses
Agriculture & aquaculture Annual & perennial non-timber crops - Small-holder farming Timing Scope Severity Impact
Ongoing Minority (<50%) Slow, Significant Declines Low Impact: 5
Ecosystem degradation, Ecosystem conversion, Reduced reproductive success
Biological resource use Hunting & trapping terrestrial animals - Intentional use (species is the target) Timing Scope Severity Impact
Ongoing Minority (<50%) Negligible declines Low Impact: 4
Species mortality
Climate change & severe weather Storms & flooding Timing Scope Severity Impact
Past, Likely to Return Whole (>90%) Very Rapid Declines Past Impact
Ecosystem degradation, Competition, Reduced reproductive success, Species mortality

Purpose Primary form used Life stage used Source Scale Level Timing
Food - human - - non-trivial recent
Pets/display animals, horticulture - - international non-trivial recent

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2023) Species factsheet: Amazona imperialis. Downloaded from on 22/09/2023. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2023) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from on 22/09/2023.